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The Best Media Streaming Boxes For All Your Entertainment Needs

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Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Sead Fadilpasic
12 February, 2020 • Updated 7 days ago
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The Best Media Streaming Boxes For All Your Entertainment Needs

The media streaming box is a must have for those who want to either make their regular TVs smart of they just don’t like the clunky operating system provided by the manufacturers.

Besides the dated operating system, most manufacturers don’t allow third-party app installs on the TV and the native app stores only have a handful of apps.

With a streaming box, you can not only install the most popular apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Go but also a number of third-party apps to stream tv or movies.

Gone are the days, when people rely on cable for entertainment, most of the content that you see on the cable can be streamed online at a reduced cost.

IN A HURRY? CHECK OUT OUR EDITOR’S CHOICE
Google Chromecast Ultra

Things to Consider

With an abundance of streaming boxes on the market in recent years, choosing the right one for yourself isn’t easy. It’s important to know what to look out for as everyone’s needs are different. That being said, here are a few things to watch out for.

1. Content

Having lots of apps and services to choose from is always nice as it will be easier to find something entertaining. Since no streaming box has it all it’s important to look out on what they offer. Granted what’s important will differ from user to user but available content is something to watch out for.

2. Resolution

Everyone likes watching movies, TV shows and the like in high resolution. The higher the resolution, the better your picture quality and who doesn’t like that? So for instance, if your TV supports 4K, make sure the streaming box does too.

3. Price

A higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better stream box. Some might be overpriced because of their brand name or you just don’t need those extra options. Again, this will vary depending on the user, but the higher price will usually mean additional tweaks and streaming options, so if you don’t plan on using them, you might as well save a few bucks.

Now you might think which device to pick, well, it basically depends on your requirements and budget. In this review, we include Top 10 Best Media Streaming Box that fulfills all your requirements.

QUICK OVERVIEW

The Best Media Streaming Boxes


Products
Features
EDITOR’S PICK
4.5
1,000+
1000+
  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100
  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100
Check price
at Amazon
MOST REVIEWED
4.5
132k+
132k+
  • With voice remote
  • Dual-core processor
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
  • With voice remote
  • Dual-core processor
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
Check price
at Amazon
TOP PICK
4.7
800+
800+
  • Connectivity: WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 4K HDR
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $200
  • Connectivity: WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 4K HDR
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $200
Check price
at Amazon
BUDGET PICK
4.5
18,300+
18300+
  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
Check price
at Amazon
BUDGET PICK
4.6
615+
615+
  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50
Check price
at Amazon
EDITOR’S PICK
Google Chromecast Ultra
Make the most of your TV.
4.5
1,000+
1000+
  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100

Best Media Streaming Boxes Under $50

Amazon Fire Stick streaming media player

Amazon Fire Stick streaming media player

Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or via Amazon Ethernet Adapter
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

The constant buffering is definitely a bad experience that creates trouble and everyone just hates it. The Fire TV Stick is something that offers smooth videos without any buffering. It is an efficient and good quality gadget that makes your television smart.

The voice remote of this device allows you to speak and it will open your favorites. Just by speaking, you can search the genres, actors, movies, and shows. Due to the dual-core processor, the device works fast. The Fire TV Stick is also good for gaming and listening to the music.

It comes with a power adapter, USB cable, quick start guide, 2 batteries, HDMI adapter, and a warranty of 1 year.

Pros
  • Good value
  • Fast performance
  • Nice voice integration
Cons
  • Have to press a button to use voice commands

Roku Express

Roku Express

Features

  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

Small in size but packs a big punch, Roku Express is one of the best streaming devices you can buy when you take the price into consideration. It’s very cheap and it’s not short on features either, as pretty much all of the on demand streaming services are there.

The interface is easy to navigate and you’ll also get Roku’s own mobile app for private listening and voice search. All in all, a great choice, especially if you’re on a budget, but if you want 4K, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Good selection of channels and services
  • Voice search
Cons
  • 4K not supported

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick+

Features

  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

Even before the relatively recent price drop, Roku Streaming Stick+ was already a great choice for the majority of users, and with the mentioned price drop it became even better. You have a huge selection of channels and services available including Disney+ and Apple TV.

Its wireless range is huge so you should have no problems getting a smooth streaming service no matter where it’s located.

The device has a simple interface and it also comes with a remote, which can control you TV too. Voice search is there as well and unlike the Roku Express, this streaming device is fully capable of 4K and HDR.

Pros
  • Huge wireless range
  • Disney+ and Apple TV available
  • Good picture quality
Cons
  • The remote can be inconvenient

Roku Premiere+

Roku Premiere+

Features

  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

Another Roku device in our review, the Roku Premiere+ is an improved version of regular Roku Premiere with just slightly higher price. It’s got a great picture quality and the device supports 4K/ HDR and as with other Roku devices, there’s plenty of content available.

The main improvement over the former version is the improved remote. It’s has a better range and it’s much more responsive, plus it has voice search support as well as volume and power buttons.

The set up is easy, all you need is an HDMI cable and you are good to go. That being said, Roku Premiere+ is an affordable device that anyone can be satisfied with, especially if you already have a 4K TV.

Pros
  • Nice performance
  • Affordable
  • Good remote
Cons
  • Voice support is limited

Best Media Streaming Boxes Under $100

Google Chromecast Ultra

Google Chromecast Ultra

Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100

Watching your favorite channels online on the big screen becomes easy with the Google Chromecast Ultra. It is an affordable and lightweight device that has top-notch quality and performs pretty well. The main difference from the Chromecast 3rd Generation is the support for 4K Ultra HD TVs with HDR. With this new upgrade, it will also automatically optimize the content for the best picture quality.

Another addition to Chromecast Ultra is the ethernet port so you can use the device without connecting to Wi-Fi. Apart from the usual, you can also control the device with just your voice. You just need to say “OK Google” and then say what you want. As for the support, with this mini gadget, you can watch a good amount of content, like Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Prime Video, HBO Now and Disney+ to name a few.

As with the 3rd Generation, this device is also quite easy to use as you just have to plug it into the port, connect WiFi or ethernet, and you are pretty much set. Since it doesn’t have a dedicated remote you’ll be using your smartphones, laptops and similar to control the content.

All things considered, it is quite an improvement over the 3rd generation but if you don’t have a 4K TV, there’s isn’t much of a reason to switch as it’s twice the price of Chromecast 3rd Generation.

Pros
  • Great performance
  • Simple to use
  • Voice control
Cons
  • No dedicated remote might be a problem to some

TiVo Roamio OTA 500 GB DVR and Streaming Media Player

TiVo Roamio OTA 500 GB DVR and Streaming Media Player

Features

  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100

While this device is several years older than the rest mentioned here it still has its uses, especially for people who use a HD antenna as it’s basically designed for them.

This gadget allows you to watch recorded and live shows, sports, movies, and music anywhere at any time on your android and IOS devices. It also permits you to download videos on your phone when you are traveling. It can be connected easily to your TV and with a single search, you can get many channels as well as stream content from YouTube, Amazon prime, Netflix, Hulu plus and more.

By plugging an antenna into this device, you can get many additional advantages. The TiVo Roamio OTA HD DVR and Streaming Media Player has a guide for 14 day program as well as recording schedule.

Pros
  • 14-day program guide for scheduling recordings
  • Can record up to 4 shows at once
  • Easy to setup
Cons
  • TiVo service subscription required

Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra

Features

  • Connectivity: Built-in WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $100

Another Roku device, the Roku Ultra offers more of the same with some additional improvements. The main new addition is the ability to plug in headphones in the remote (you do get the JBL headphones when buying). Roku Ultra has a USB port, an ethernet port which is handy if your WiFi isn’t the best, and it also has a microSD slot as an added bonus.

As with other Roku devices mentioned here, a plethora of content channels and services are available, and it fully supports 4K and HDR. A very capable streaming device, Roku Ultra is a good choice for high end streaming, and it’s not that expensive either.

Pros
  • Great performance
  • Headphones jack on a remote
  • Abundance of streaming services
Cons
  • Voice search could have been better

Best Media Streaming Boxes Under $150

Apple TV (32GB, 4th generation)

Apple TV (32GB, 4th generation)

Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 1080p
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $150

The Apple TV (32GB, 4th generation) is a smart and attractive design that offers a lot to the users. You can stream movies, songs, photos, and games from Macs, PCs, or IOS devices.

You will get a perfect audio with high-resolution videos. It is a system that is designed to provide everything that you want from a streaming device. It can be connected to the network using Ethernet or WiFi.

Pros
  • Neat voice control features
  • Great performance
  • Good integration with other Apple products
Cons
  • A bit pricey

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or via Amazon Ethernet Adapter
  • Max supported resolution: 4K
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $150

The latest edition of Fire TV Cube is the improvement on the last one in every way possible. It has very fast performance and it supports Dolby Vision and HDR and HDR10+.

One of the main features is the ability to control everything hands-free with Alexa like turning the TV on/off, playing a show of your choice or doing something that’s not necessarily related to watching TV.

There’s plenty of choice for streaming as a lot of  services are available, including Amazon Prime Video, and everything is available in 4K. All things considered, the Fire TV Cube is a good choice if you’re not on a budget, and users who already use Amazon services will probably find it even more appealing.

Pros
  • Supports Dolby Vision
  • Great voice support
  • Speedy performance
Cons
  • Ads can be a bit annoying

Best Media Streaming Boxes Under $200

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro

Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or Ethernet
  • Max supported resolution: 4K HDR
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $200

Whether it’s about the appearance or the features, this device excels in both and that’s the reason it manages to be in the list of top ten streaming gadgets. Watching the content in 4K on a big screen is something that everyone would want.

The NVIDIA SHIELD has all the functions and features that make it worth buying. You can also stream your favorite games and enjoy your free time.

Pros
  • Supports Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus
  • Great picture and audio quality
  • Huge library of services, including video games
Cons
  • Pricey

*All prices mentioned above are at the time of publishing.

Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Written by
Sead Fadilpasic
Sead is a seasoned tech journalist, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his 15+ years of experience, he's done hundreds of product reviews, broke and fixed more gadgets than people usually use in a lifetime. When he's not writing for MuchNeeded, he spends his time raising his daughter, playing guitar and occasionally hitting the gym.